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Full text of "Poland Russia and Great Britain 1941-1945"

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" there can be no possible future peace for Europe, if genuine Polish
independence was to be crushed directly or indirectly by Russia." . ^
The most straightforward speech made in that debate came from Lord
Dunglass., who spoke as e man to man' in this fog of discretion and
mystery into which the House had been drawn :—
" This matter between Poland and Russia cannot be left to be settled
between the two countries without any intervention from ourselves. Not
only from the wide point of view of the organisation of world peace has this
matter to be looked at, for clearly it will be a test case of the relationship
between a great Power and a weaker neighbour. Not only because we are
the Allies of each of them, but also because, under Treaty, we have accepted
not only definite legal, but moral, commitments to Poland. It is our habit
to honour our treaties.
" I remember very well the day when the guarantee was given to Poland
by Mr. Chamberlain's Government. At that time the British Government
and the Polish Government were thinking in terms of the frontiers which
held the field in the summer of 1939. At that time they were unchallenged
by any other Power except Germany. I was glad to hear the Prime Minister
mention this point because we owe it to ourselves to make it clear that, if it
had not been for Russia's decision to partake in the partition of Poland^ this
country would have fulfilled that Treaty in the spirit and in the letter ; but
equally we owe it to the Poles to recognise the situation as it is to-day. That
situation is fundamentally changed. No one in 1939 could have foreseen
those changes. No one could have foreseen that Russia, from being a
potential enemy would become our Ally, nor the stupendous Russian military
effort, without which, I think it is admitted—so strong was Germany's
strength in the field revealed to be—that Poland might never have been
freed. No one could have foreseen that Russia, after her prodigious feat of
arms, would determine to annex Polish territory in order to put the best
possible strategic frontier between herself and the German people. Those
things were not seen at that time. The question for this House, which had
a real responsibility in the matter, is : Can we, in these new circumstances,
fulfil our guarantee to Poland ?
" We must be absolutely frank and state the position as we see it to-day.
To the Poles, I take it we should have to say that we cannot hope to restore
the old Poland, and that our aim now must be to restore a Poland independent
and free, and as nearly equivalent as possible in territory, economic resources
and in international status to the Poland of 1939. If that is our intention
and aim, the question inevitably follows whether, in view of the Russian
attitude, we can make that independence and that freedom into a reality.
If, after the defeat of Germany, this gallant but unhappy people are still
left in bondage, and if this country has failed to do anything that we ought to
have done or might have done, then our national conscience will be uneasy
for generations.
" I believe we can succeed in this matter, but that success will elude us
unless we realise two things. The first is that Russia operates under a code
of ethics which is by no means the same as our own. For that I am not
blaming the Russians. They are at a different point on the historical road.
Let me give examples. When the British Government say : c We will
promise to restore an independent and free Poland,' they mean it in the
unqualified sense of the words; but when Marshal Stalin says,c We will
restore your independence and freedom,* he says, in the name of the
Russian Government, to Poland : c Yes, you may have your independence,
but Russia will dictate your frontiers, and you may have your freedom., but